Trouble swallowing can be a common issue as your senior grows older. This is called dysphagia, and it can actually become so severe that your elderly family member is unable to eat or drink foods unless they’ve been specially prepared, such as pureeing them, or unless liquids have been thickened properly.
Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss
Often people who have trouble swallowing find that eating has become unpleasant and possibly painful. That can cause her appetite to disappear. You might notice that she’s not eating by sudden weight loss that she wasn’t actively trying to achieve. Ask your senior what’s happening and see if you can find an answer for her.
Of course, a side effect of losing her appetite is that your senior isn’t eating, which leads very rapidly to malnourishment. Your senior’s food contains the nutrients that she needs in order to maintain her health, keep her muscle tone, and to be able to deal with stresses her body encounters. Malnourishment is a big problem that needs to be resolved quickly.
Dehydration can happen even more quickly than malnourishment and it can cause big problems for your senior. Being dehydrated on a consistent basis can lead to urinary tract problems, like UTIs, kidney stones, and even kidney failure. Severe dehydration can lower your senior’s blood pressure to dangerous levels and can even cause seizures.
Difficulty Taking Medication
If your senior is having trouble swallowing food and beverages, she most likely is not able to take medications, either. This can mean that her health is even more endangered because she’s taking medications for a reason. Talk with her doctor about what sorts of alternative forms of medications she can take that are easier for her to ingest.
Aspiration pneumonia is a specific type of lung infection in which foods or beverages go down the wrong pipe and wind up in your senior’s lungs. Your senior may not have the lung strength to cough these particles out of her lungs, and they lead to infection. This can be prevented by choosing different types of foods and drinks that are easier for your senior to swallow.
Dealing with dysphagia can be difficult alone. Having help from elderly care providers to prepare meals and snacks that are appropriate can help. It also helps that someone is there with your senior while she’s eating, just in case something happens.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care services near Seneca, SC, contact Heart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116. Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens, Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas.
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